Does it feel like your sales process is broken? Are prospects no longer responding to your outreach? Perhaps opportunities are flaming out in the latter stages of your funnel. Or maybe you’ve noticed a decline in revenue.
At some point, almost every IT organization grapples with the reality of a broken sales process — even businesses with historically sterling sales records. Those hiccups can be caused by a sudden lack of focus on the right target market, poor messaging coordination or a lack of understanding of your prospect’s evolving needs.
The good news: Most prospecting and sales process breakdowns are fixable, if your IT organization is proactive about identifying and addressing them.
Here are four strategies to get your sales process back on track.
1. Find Your Focus
In sales, success is tied to your ability to focus on the right target market. Every activity you execute — whether it’s engaging a prospect for the first time or delivering a proposal later in the process — must be done with a specific purpose.
For instance, let’s say that a prospect requests a demo to validate that your solution does exactly what you’ve been promising. When you host that demo, it’s critical that you maintain focus on achieving that objective, rather than meandering into bonus features that you love but the client may have no interest in.
The goal here is to deliver what the prospect needs at the specific stage they’re in. Any more or less, and you run the risk of losing credibility and stalling the sales process.
2. Get Your Grabber
Once you’ve identified the “who, what and why” of your sales process, the next step is to think about the questions or key points that will keep your prospects’ attention.
To secure the first appointment, for instance, you must be able to pinpoint the “grabber” — a talking point that revolves around your prospect’s most pressing issues, needs or pains.
Too often, salespeople get caught up in the minutiae — asking specific technical questions that bore prospects or, worse yet, confuse them. Salespeople must be able to see the bigger picture and only weave in technical information when it helps prospects better understand their recommendations.
3. Connect Your Efforts
In prospecting or new business development, it’s critical for IT companies to link all of their activities together — networking, email prospecting, radio advertising, speaking engagements, cold calling, blogging, etc. Doing that allows an audience to see a clearer picture of your brand and better absorb a cohesive message.
Later in the sales process, the same is true. You must think about connecting every interaction to the next, linking meetings in a logical order so that it guides prospects to the point of making a decision. You should enter each meeting with a vision for what you want to accomplish and how you want it to end, and have a strategy in place for how you’ll advance the prospect to the next stage of the sales process.
4. Make an Offer They Can’t Refuse
Unlike Don Corleone in “The Godfather,” this step has nothing to do with strong-arming prospects into situations they don’t really want to get into. Instead, it’s about consistently offering the kinds of information, insight, ideas or value that are impossible to ignore.
Let’s say your IT company is calling into small retail businesses that are concerned about suffering the same massive security breach Target recently experienced. If you’re in the early stages of prospecting, you might share free tips for helping those businesses secure their IT systems from hackers. If you’re in the latter stages of the sales process, you might present ideas for how your product could be implemented to resolve those issues.
Regardless, the goal should always be to understand who you’re targeting, identify what they care about most, and then tailor your engagement based on that information. The more you do that, the better your chances are of keeping conversations alive with key prospects and, ultimately, converting them into happy, paying customers.
Kendra Lee is a Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencer. She is a prospect attraction expert, president of KLA Group in Englewood, and author of the new book The Sales Magnet and the award-winning book Selling Against the Goal. To find out more, visit www.klagroup.com or call 303-741-6636.